2003 Volume 93 Issue 2 Pages 149-154
To evaluate the suitability of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) as a solvent for muscle-contraction studies in the chicken, its effect on the slow muscle contracture induced by high-K+ solution was explored using the anterior latissimus dorsi (ALD) muscle from one-week-old chicks. Measurements were made of isometric tension and various characteristics of the contractures [peak tension, total tension (area under the curve), duration of contraction, drop in tension from peak to plateau, and resting tension], in the presence and absence of DMSO (20 mM). Exposure to DMSO led to a concentration-dependent reduction in resting tension of up to 9 ± 1.8% (n = 4) with respect to the control. The threshold concentration was 10 mM, and the maximum effect was reached between 20 and 30 mM. The drop in tension from peak to plateau was three times larger in the presence of DMSO (20 mM) than in its absence. At the same concentration, there was a 10 ± 2.3% increase in the time constant of activation. No significant changes were observed in peak tension or in total tension in the presence of 20 mM DMSO. As a consequence, this type of biological preparation is not suitable for research on muscle contractures involving drugs that must be dissolved in DMSO (at the DMSO concentrations tested here).